Tesla Privatization in 2018 Discussed with Head of Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Confirmed in Text Messages

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Correction Notice: This article was previously published with a different headline, which has been changed. It was also published with attribution to Tesmanian.com. This article has been updated to fix this problem.


Private text messages have surfaced about Tesla privatization in 2018. This has been in the news recently as Elon Musk recently purchased Twitter to take the company private. The same has been discussed about Telsa in the past.

Musk admitted that he spoke with the head of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund appeared and confirm their involvement to potentially take the manufacturer private.

A court filing unearthed dozens of text messages between Musk and a Saudi investor.

“He tweeted that the head of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), Yasir Al-Rumayyan, had made an unequivocal commitment to take Tesla private with him,” according to Tesmanian.com.

Musk said this was what prompted him to write that funding was secured in a tweet in 2018.

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Musk’s tweet comes after there was a court filing on Friday that outlined a series of text messages between him and Al-Rumayyan. The messages show that Musk is insulted and extremely outraged that after the start of the case against him, the Saudi PIF publicly announced that it was not interested in acquiring Tesla, although this was not true. The reports also show that Al-Rumayyan continues to ask Musk for further talks on the acquisition, although the Tesla chief said that after the foundation’s misleading public statements, he did not want to do business with them anymore.

During Technology Entertainment and Design (TED) in Vancouver in mid-April, Musk said that funding for his company’s privatization was actually secured at the time he posted his tweets in the summer of 2018. However, the SEC continued an active public investigation, which harmed the company significantly. Thus, under pressure, Musk was forced to give in to the SEC.

“So I was forced to concede to the SEC unlawfully. Those bastards,” he said.

The complexity of the situation was that the banks began to threaten to stop providing capital to Tesla if Musk did not agree to the SEC settlement, which would immediately make the company bankrupt. Creating a company from scratch, investing so much time and effort into it, and completely sacrificing personal life for this—it was unacceptable. Musk raised Tesla like a child, because the company had an important mission ahead. Under such tremendous psychological pressure, he felt compelled to settle with the SEC.

“So that’s like having a gun to your child’s head,” Musk said. “I was forced to admit that I lied to save Tesla’s life and that’s the only reason,” he added.

Musk and Tesla paid civil fines of $20 million each—and Musk stepped down as chairman of Tesla—to satisfy the SEC’s claims.

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